912302 Experimental methods in forest ecology

Lecture and seminar
Semester hours
Lecturer (assistant)
Sanden, Hans , Rewald, Boris
Offered in
Sommersemester 2022
Languages of instruction
Englisch, Deutsch


A fundamental skill in ecology is the ability to collect and analyse biological data efficiently and correctly.
After an introductory lecture, lab experiments will be conducted to introduce students to important experimental methods in forest ecology. The experiments will be either chaired by Dr. Sandén and Dr. Rewald. Topics covered are e.g.

Dr. Sandén: Soil enzyme activity, staining techniques (mycorrhiza identification/quantification), biomass quantification or similar

Dr. Rewald: Sperry apparatus (axial conductivity and embolism), Scholander bomb (pV curve), Oxygen Electrode (tissue respiration), WinRhizo (root surface and morphology), Minirhizotron (root growth in situ)

Experimental demonstrations are carried out in front of the whole group, the experimentation takes place in small groups (2-3 persons). Per group four experiments are carried out (1 per day) and analyzed on day 5. A detailed and three brief protocols have to be written and will be graded.

Previous knowledge expected

Basic knowledge in plant ecophysiology and soil sciences will be assets.

Objective (expected results of study and acquired competences)

Learning outcomes

After successful completion of this course, students are expected to be able to:

- conduct independent and collaborative work on a forest ecology field or lab study with various methods

- manage the transition between the completion of data acquisition and the start of data analysis (organizing ecological data into Excel spreadsheets for analysis of patterns and correlations)

- analyse, interpret and communicate (written) experimental data in the field of experimental forest ecology

- evaluate the experimental design and methods of ecological research projects
You can find more details like the schedule or information about exams on the course-page in BOKUonline.